Exploring Denver

photo by Kait Herzog

photo by Kait Herzog

By: Brie Sandridge

I am originally from Golden, Colorado, which is a suburb just west of downtown Denver. Now that I spend my semesters away from home, I am sure to make the best of my time back home during winter and summer break. Denver and its surrounding towns are a major attraction during the holidays. Between the snow, the mountains, the good food, the friendly people, and the countless attractions, tourists from all over the country and the world make their way to the Rocky Mountains. Here is a bucket list for anyone coming to the Denver area during the winter season:

Snooze Café: 700 N Colorado Blvd, Denver CO
This breakfast place is one of the most popular in the Denver area. But let me tell ya - the food is worth the wait. They have daily flavors of pancakes (my personal favorite is Reese’s), and they have delicious make-your-own omelets with dozens of toppings to add. There are several locations in the Denver area and Boulder.

Casa Bonita: 6715 W Colfax Ave, Lakewood, CO
Be warned, this place is not known for their high quality food. BUT, it is famous to any Denverite. It is famous for its indoor waterfall, cheesy skits, haunted house, and arcade. Oh, and did I mention all you can eat sopapillas? This restaurant was mentioned in an episode of South Park!

J’s Noodles Stair Thai: 945 S Federal Blvd #E, Denver, CO
I had to tie in some sort of ethnic food for you adventurous eaters out there. My family is pretty picky when it comes to Thai food, and nothing has yet to be better than J’s. PS do not order over a level 5 of spicy (you will regret it unless you have taste buds of steel).

 Little Man’s Ice Cream: 2620 16th St, Denver, CO
A unique and tasty place to fulfill your sweet tooth is located in the Highlands neighborhood, a hip area to shop and eat. Grab a double scoop of salted oreo or strawberry shortcake and you’ll be satisfied for the rest of the week! Sidenote: this is especially satisfying when preceded by Parisi, a tasty Italian restaurant nearby.

Cherry Creek Shopping Center
With both an outdoor and an indoor shopping center, you are sure to find anything you are looking for. Cherry Creek is one of the most well-known shopping areas in all of Colorado. Stop by the Lululemon Athletica, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and Free People all in one place! There are tons of local shops and boutiques around as well.

REI
For anyone trying to gear up for outdoor adventures, they should stop by. The Denver REI is a huge, unique building just on the edge of downtown. You can grab anything from ski gear to backpacks to chacos to energy bars. Local’s tip: shop here if you want to blend in.

16th Street Mall
Located in the heart of downtown, this outdoor mall is also a fun place to spend a shopping day if the weather is permitting. The street is lined with shops and restaurants. Larimer Square and Union Station are must-sees at this time of the year with their Christmas decorations. On New Years Eve, fireworks can be seen from this area too! 

Light Shows
There are many places to witness dreamy Christmas lights this time of the year in Denver. My personal favorite is Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo, but there are also wonderful shows at the Botanical Gardens and Hudson Gardens. Even City Hall gets festive!

 

Brown Palace Tea
The Brown Palace, located in the middle of downtown, is a perfect way to spend an elegant afternoon. Take your girlfriends, moms, sisters, and grandmas to afternoon tea and take in the beautiful architecture of the building. It truly is a Denver delight!

Pepsi Center / Sports Authority Field
Denver is home to a great array of professional sports teams. Cheering on the Avalanche, Broncos, or Nuggets is always a fun way to spend an evening!

Ice Skating in Evergreen, CO
It is truly spectacular to ice skate on a real frozen lake! It is a quick 45-minute drive from the Denver area to Evergreen Lake. You can rent skates there (and drink hot chocolate, too). Make sure to bundle up - it can be cold out on the ice!

Boulder
Denver is approximately a 30-45 minute drive from the this town. There may be a lot of hippies, but the Flat Irons make a truly remarkable backdrop. If it’s sunny enough, take a hike in Chautauqua Park. The Pearl Street Mall has tons of great stores and Colorado souvenirs, as well as street performers. The beautiful University of Colorado is situated here. Boulder is also home to the largest Whole Foods in the world!

photo by Hunter Folsom

photo by Hunter Folsom

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